Sunday, August 15, 2010
Mariano Rivera greatest Yankee since Mickey Mantle-Moulton
- 8/14/10, "David Moulton: Mariano Rivera is the greatest Yankee since Mickey Mantle," Naples Daily News
it made me wonder if maybe there is a certain Yankee
- who is actually underpaid and underrated?
Tough to pull off since he makes $15 million per season and is a lock for the Hall of Fame, but
- Mariano Rivera is the greatest Yankee
- since Mickey Mantle.
Yes, I know what I just said. Better than Thurman, Reggie, Mattingly, Winfield, Bernie, Posada, Pettitte, A-Rod and dare I say ...
If your team was three outs from winning the World Series and protecting a one-run lead today,
- who would you want on the mound?
The answer is so easy, the question seems laughable, despite the fact that Rivera turns 41 in November.
Papelbon and Broxton combined gave up more earned runs Thursday than Rivera has all year (7 to 5). Papelbon, 29, and Broxton, 26, are both 6-foot-4 and over 225 pounds.
- They each throw in the mid to upper 90s. Combined they have 256 saves and have made six All-Star games since 2006.
Rivera looks like a middle-aged executive. He’s 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and has lost a yard off his fastball. The man they simply call “Mo”
- barely cracks 90 mph these days.
Yet his ERA is 1.06. That’s because he gave up a run on Wednesday.
- He is statistically better at 40 than he was at 30.
Only once in the last eight years has his final ERA been above 1.94. Once!
And he throws one pitch, two ways. A fastball. Straight and cut.
- That's it.
His size, demeanor and stuff should make him the most unassuming closer in baseball.
- Yet he’s the most feared. And it’s not close.
I mean Tyson at his peak, Tiger in 2000, the Patriots offense in 2007 and the SEC in the national championship game, feared.
- When “Enter Sandman” by Metallica plays over the PA system, Mariano Rivera is entering the game. Which means it is over! Has been
- since the Clinton administration.
How does he do it? He credits God. By now,
- even the baseball atheist is a believer.
Largely because his 550 regular season saves and career 2.21 ERA pale in comparison
- to how he performs in the playoffs. When the pressure and stakes are highest, he is at his best. By far.
He’s statistically three times better in the fall
- than the spring and summer.
Rivera has pitched in 88 playoff games and given up 11 earned runs.
- His lifetime postseason ERA is 0.74.
He has blown just four saves against the best teams in baseball
- with the most on the line, and one was when he
inherited the tying run on third with no outs.
- Rivera has lost one playoff game since 1995, and it was largely because
of his throwing error (Game 7 of the 2001 World Series).
- Yet Rivera has never won a Cy Young Award.*
- Never finished better than ninth in the MVP race.
That despite there being no more important player in baseball,
- no one player who separated his team from everyone else in the last 15 years
- more than Mariano Rivera.
Remarkably after elbow surgery in the minors, he was left unprotected in the 1993 expansion draft.
- The Marlins or Rockies could have had him for free.
Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s number in 1997. Everyone wearing No. 42 then was allowed to keep it until their career was over. Rivera will be the last man to wear No. 42 in the history of Major League Baseball. Fitting, for as former Twins manager Tom Kelly once said of Rivera, “He needs to pitch in a higher league.”
So take the time over the next eight to 10 weeks to stop and marvel at the unassuming middle-aged Panamanian,
- whose greatness should not be taken for granted and overlooked.
Even if it is football season."
"David Moulton is a freelance writer. He co-hosts “Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon,” which airs weekdays 2 to 7 p.m. on WWCN/AM 770 ESPN. His column runs Sunday, Wednesday and Friday."
- Commenter to Baseball-Reference blog, 8/12/10:
*"Gary Bolte Says:
August 12th, 2010 at 12:55 pm
- It is not the fans who do not realize how great Rivera has been,
- but the media.
- One of the greatest injustices is the fact that Mariano will pitch as long as he has
- without winning a Cy Young or MVP."...